The Annapolis Valley is one of the most beautiful regions in Nova Scotia. It is nestled between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. Our moderate climate and beautiful beaches make this the perfect getaway destination. Some of our favorite area attractions are listed below. For help planning your stay, we are happy to give you other recommendations for activities and adventure.
The Bay of Fundy is one of the best areas in the World to go whale watching. The Bay provides a rich feeding ground for the whales and as a result, an amazing number of whales and an amazing variety of different species of whales spend their summer in the Bay.
The crews of the whale watching tours are very knowledgeable about the different types of whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds that are part of the vast marine ecosystem that surrounds Digby Neck.
Two options are available for whale watch tours: a tour boat operated by Bier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises, or a large rigid-hull "Zodiac," operated by Ocean Explorations Whale Adventures. The tour boat offers a more traditional sightseeing boat cruise, whereas the "Zodiac" offers a slightly more adventurous whale watching experience (please note that passengers aboard the "Zodiac" must be at least 5 years of age).
"ESCAPE from the hectic pace of everyday life with a visit to Annapolis Royal’s beautiful Historic Gardens!
In a beautiful setting overlooking a tidal river valley, the Historic Gardens is a premiere Nova Scotia attraction showcasing gardening methods, designs, and materials representing more than four hundred years of local history.
The historically based core gardens are linked by paths through many other display areas featuring plant collections, garden art, water features, and natural areas. Connecting pathways look westward over Dykelands, evocative of a way of life centuries ago.
The Victorian Garden contains over 3,000 vibrantly colorful annuals. The selection of exotic and heritage plants, set in elegant symmetry, reflect Victorian tastes and the wealth of Annapolis Royal during the age of sail."
(Text from the Annapolis Flower Garden website.)
Our Beach is a tidal beach on the edge of the Annapolis Basin. Bear Island is located just off the coast. At high tide, it is an island and at low tide, you can walk to the Island on sandbars. However, the tides come in very quickly and the timing of this walk is very important!
Mavillette Beach Provincial Park has a beautiful sandy beach and when the tide is out, there are lots of sandbars where the children (and you) can run and play. When the wind is up, Bay St. Marie is also a perfect place to go windsurfing!
There is another beautiful and often deserted beach at Sandy Cove on Digby Neck...a great place for a romantic walk!
A great place to see in Nova Scotia is Fort Anne which is located in Annapolis Royal, about 20 minutes from Harbourview. The first fort was built on this site about 1629 and the French erected four different forts beginning in 1643...each an improvement on the previous one.
The earthen fortifications are still in place as well as the 1797 British field officers' quarters. An early 18th-century gunpowder magazine is very well preserved. The whole site provides a very relaxing atmosphere for a walk. A candlelight tour of the graveyard alongside the fortress provides a wealth of information about the individuals buried there over the years as well as information about the different burial practices of the period.
Enjoy a fishing excursion with a guide who can help you find the best spots to make your catch. Sunset/sunrise tours offer a chance for adventure, romance, or just a great photo. Experience the rich history and beautiful scenes of the Annapolis Basin. Ride the tide up the Bear River or take a Saturday morning trip to the Annapolis Royal Saturday Market.
The skipper served with the Canadian Navy from 1984 to 2006 and his experience on the water and his love of the Maritimes will serve you well in your exploration of our beautiful landscape. The vessel is a very stable, 23 foot long Carolina Skiff equipped with all necessary safety equipment as required by Transport Canada.
A great variety of birds thrive in different habitats in this region of Canada. Because of the extensive shorelines and because of the abundance of both salt and freshwater bodies in the area, there is a chance to see these different types of birds. There are also a number of Whale Watching and Seabird Cruises that take you to the Bay of Fundy and provide you with a chance to see some of the birds that spend most of their lives far from land.
There is a great variety of locations to bird watch in this area... along the shoreline in Smith's Cove, on Digby Neck, and in the more inland areas around Bear River.
Just 10 minutes away, the Flight of Fancy in Bear River is a must-see in our area. The shop has interesting works of art and souvenirs. His own paintings are really amazing. The artist is known for his paintings on rocks, including detailed paintings of eagles soaring. He takes something natural and gives a completely new perspective!
The owner creates a very warm and relaxed atmosphere with an invitation to enjoy all that you see without any pressure to buy. It is little wonder that the Flight of Fancy won the Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence.
The Flight of Fancy is located ten minutes from the Harbourview Inn in the community of Bear River.
"The Habitation was constructed by Samuel de Champlain, with his colleague Pierre Du Gua de Monts and a small group of fellow adventurers during the summer of 1605; it consisted of several buildings grouped, French-fashion, in a four-sided arrangement around a central courtyard.
Although this new community did not last long, it was the earliest European settlement of any permanence in North America, north of Florida, and it introduced a way of life that was both innovative and unique for its time and place."
This is a great place for children and adults to learn a bit of history presented in an interesting and educational setting.
Harbourview Inn is located about 30 minutes from the French Acadian Shore located alongside St. Mary's Bay.
There are several really beautiful churches located in this area as well as some interesting natural sites including Smugglers Cove and Mavilette Beach.
The church is the largest wooden church in North America and is located at L'Universite de St. Ann in Church Point.
This tour will take you to the edge of the Bay of Fundy to observe the effects of a nine-meter tidal range providing an exciting view into one of the world's most dynamic and diverse ecosystems. Explore tide pools full of amazing diversity. Collect and observe plankton from the waters of the Bay. See what attracts the great whales to our area. See predator-prey relationships, life, and death battles live in action. Observe barnacles in a feeding frenzy. Zoom in on the zones with a field microscope. Sample some succulent seaweeds and search for the elusive sea anemone and beautiful sea slugs.
For those who would like to explore some of the many rivers, bays, and lakes in this area, this is a great way to do it. There are two locations that you can arrange to rent canoes and kayaks. One is at Kejimujik National Park and the other is in the nearby village of Weymouth. Good exercise and great fun!
Clams grow in the tidal sandbars off the beach in front of the Harbourview Inn. There is a tour organized by Fundy Adventures that provides information about the lifecycle of clams and provides hands-on experience of digging clams. This is a great learning experience for the whole family!
There are two hiking trails close to the Winchester House...one leads by the Cottage Colony on Harbourview Road and the other leads to the Bear River Lighthouse on the old railway line of the Dominion Atlantic Railway.
For the past ten years on Labour Day, Digby has hosted the largest motorcycle rally in Eastern Canada. This year, 2013, there were over 25,000 motorcycles and double that number of people. Lots of activities are planned to entertain the people who come and the rally starts on Friday and goes until Sunday.